Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not Just Hiking - March 2012

Want to see what I am reading and have read before I post my complete list at the end of the month? Want to know when I read a book or what I am going to read? Check out my Goodreads page. Want to see a list of every physical book in this house? Want to know what my husband read? Want to know what my kids own? Visit LibraryThing.

BOOKS

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
This book just made me angry. Early on, I found it familiar ... almost too much so. It seemed like all of the themes that she covered had already been done so in other books. However, I began to find myself attached to the characters and I began to think they were worth investing my time in. They were intriguing and unique. By the end, I was frustrated and angry. I don't always need closure in a book. I am fine with stories that leave you hanging. What I don't like are stories that leave you hanging with no apparent reason other than it means more and more people will talk about the book. I think she probably wrote this in this manner so that people would talk about it. If anyone asks me, I'll talk about it just enough to say, "Don't waste your time." This is the 8th of the Tournament of Books choices that I have read. So far I have liked two, tolerated three, and actively dis-liked three. Trying to decide if I should read the one I just picked up from the library.

The Last Station by Jay Parini
I did not enjoy this novel about Leo Tolstoy's final year at all. Not a single likable character in the bunch. I would have quit in the middle if this hadn't been a book club choice.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
I think this, quite simply, is a true measure of what we would do for our children. I am not really a fan of Cormac McCarthy's, but I think he is quite talented. I've also read No Country For Old Men and, while both his books were good, I would not want to see either of the movies. The violence and despair in my head is gruesome enough.

The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
I finished this just before it was up against 1Q84 in the Tournament of Books and it makes the 9th of 16 that I have completed. I had determined that I wasn't going to read another of the ToB choices but Amy's review made it a necessity. To quote her, "It's a gut-wrenching story, packing an immense wallop in a short space." I still think The Sisters Brothers is the best of the 16, but I would put this in second.

Open City by Teju Cole
I finished it for two reasons: (1) it won its round of the TOB and (2) the consensus was that I had to for it to count in my yearly totals. This is, however, one of the only books I read that gives you the exact same feeling in the middle and at the end. Yeah, yeah, something finally "happens" at the end, but it makes absolutely no difference to me. I guess I like books where "things" happen. It is the 10th of the TOB books I have finished. And I am not reading any more of them.

Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
Three months in and three Shakespeare plays. We were supposed to watch a performance by a traveling theatre troupe but the theatre lost all power and water the day of the show. Still, this play was good fun.

Quiet by Susan Cain
I found this book by Susan Cain to be informative and thought-provoking. However, in all the discussion of introverts and extroverts, I couldn't find myself. Where are those who fall squarely in the middle? I like a good party as much as my extrovert friends and I am happy to stay home on the odd weekend and recharge and read a book when my kids are out camping. I found myself somewhere in the middle of her two worlds. It seemed to me that she classifies people as one thing or the other with no thought of scale. I wonder where that research is on people who can quite easily fit into and straddle both worlds.


MOVIES

Hugo
This award winning Scorsese flick was a reward to the boys. It deserved the awards and I loved it. This is what a movie for kids should look like.

King Lear
This is the first time I have liked reading a Shakespeare play better than watching it. Even with the great Ian McKellen, it seemed to drag.

The Hunger Games
Loved it. As good as the book, if not better. Two words. Woody Harrelson.

Books in March: 7
Books in 2012: 26

3 comments:

Girl Detective said...

(No Country for Old Men is Proulx, not McCarthy, right? though they're similar) I really appreciated the Road, and was intrigued in its contrast between the dad and the mom's decisions. My husband hated the book--felt it was hopeless and thus what was the point. I just finished State of Wonder, a ToB book. Blerg. But am still going to read The Last Brother.

Amy said...

Open City made me crazy. I don't mind a book where not much happens--I adored The Sense of an Ending. But I have to at least care about the character, and I gave not a whit for pedantic ol' Julius. Plus, he made me feel stupid.

Carol said...

My book club read The Road a few years back, right before the movie. I think his writing is beautiful, but I could not imagine that book on film even if I am a huge Viggo fan!

I agree about Hugo! What a visually exquisite movie. I have seen many of the best picture nominees, and I liked it best of all. I wish it would have won.

The Hunger Games was so great. Woody was amazing (some didn't like him in that role, but I thought he rocked!). I thought all the acting was really good. I read the trilogy and liked how they translated this first one to the screen. The director of this one just announced he will not direct the second one. We will see how those translate (I didn't like the hand-held cameras so much. Maybe the next director will not do that).